and Explanatory Notes
While I was hunting for“history nuggets” at the California
Historical Society’s North Baker Research Library in San Francisco,
quite by accident I came across Mrs. Edna Bryan Buckbee’s notes
and typescripts. I was delighted to find some pertinent information
about my own town, Mountain Ranch. Soon I realized that there, in among
the folders and dividers were pieces of a manuscript notes dealing with
Old Calaveras. It was with a child’s excitement that I searched
through files of material that had been donated to the California Historical
Society in 1954. These were not just any stories but local history with
people’s names, places and dates, exactly the kind of Gold Rush
narrative I had been hoping to find. This was a very rich “pay
There was an added reason for my excitement. Historians in this county
have been at a disadvantage because, unlike other counties, a truly
comprehensive history of Calaveras has never been published. To illustrate
this point, in 1932 the editor of the California Historical Society
Quarterly wrote to several people looking for historical information
about Calaveras County.
“I find that there is very little published material on that county,
and am therefore finding it rather difficult to obtain accurate information.”
The California State Librarian replied:
“ There is no other history of Calaveras other than the one you
mention in your letter, [and that history source] is exceedingly meager”
Edna Buckbee was a daughter of California pioneers, Joseph (Joe) Turner
Bryan and Elvira Ellis who married in Sonora in 1854. Her father had
ridden to California with a group of horsemen five years before the
Gold Rush, in 1845. A skillful reinsmen, later he was the top driver
for Vogan Stage covering the company’s longest daily run of 120
miles from Sonora to Sacramento.
Edna was born in San Andreas in 1876, some 27 years after the Gold Rush.
She lived in Sheep Ranch, Angels Camp and San Andreas. As a child she
heard many of the Old Calaveras stories first-hand and knew some of
the characters personally.
book is now available and may be ordered by calling the Calaveras County
Historical Society. The cost is $39.95 plus tax.
more information call 754-1058.